Review : Rufus Wainwright - Rufus Does Judy At Carnegie Hall
SlantmagazineMany gay men of the Stonewall generation worshipped the ground Judy Garland walked on, fully aware of the fact that it was littered with empty prescription bottles. Garland—perhaps the very first human being to transmogrify into pure camp before an adoring and judgmental public, though clearly not the last—became an icon through her indomitableness, her boozy courage in decline, and her occasional grace under duress. The queens who took note of this quality, and who nourished it through ritual and oral tradition, are the people we have to thank for the canonization of Garland's superb 1964 document Judy at Carnegie Hall. Who else could have kept it on the pop charts for 95 weeks even while its star self-destructed?...full text
BlenderA public act of worship, a fabulous stunt in which a gay singer channeled the spirit of the ultimate gay icon: Rufus Wainwright’s song-by-song re-creation of Judy Garland’s famous April 1961 Carnegie Hall concert was all this and more. Onstage at the June 2006 event, this gawky pop shaman was transformed by a full orchestra and clothes by schmancy Dutch designers Viktor & Rolf. On the double-CD compiled from those concerts, Wainwright’s wavering, grainy, nasal-edged voice is nothing like Garland’s ripe alto, though he displays a similar showbiz flair: His campy humor matches Garland’s in pungency. This compendium of pop standards is as good an introduction to the great American songbook as any....full text
RollingstoneSince Rufus Wainwright has small interest in contemporary pop music as it is usually defined, it's a relief to hear him essay the show tunes and Tin Pan Alley chestnuts of this tribute album, which reproduces the entirety of a beloved 1961 concert by the ultimate gay icon, Judy Garland. They expand his melodic compass, plus the lyrics are good — even the more obscure numbers are of Ira Gershwin and Noel Coward caliber. Wainwright brings something new to them too — namely, sexuality in the sensuality as opposed to gender-preference sense. Where Judy's greatest charm was the innocence she continued to project in the wake of a lifetime of well-documented booze, pills and romantic travail, Rufus always sounds ready to fall into bed with the objects of his musical affection. That said, Garland trained for a lifetime to sing this material — her pitch and articulation are uniformly superb....full text
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